Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    March 18, 2015 4:00am-4:31am PDT

4:00 am
need to use this hub that people are using anyway to identify their needs and connect them with other resources. >> can you speak about your success and be able to hook up veterans to other services and opportunities in the city? >> it's brand new and so far there have been individual successes and individual failures. there have been people who come in late night after many services are closed, we have a social worker on site that we can connect people with, but we're not exactly a complete one stop shop. there's a limited band of people we can help but really it's about awareness, but that very emergent need is not something we can do well. we really have to if he cuss on that one skill set we can leverage, which is information find ?oog ?oo when were you at the san francisco conservation core? >> 1996 through 1997, i served
4:01 am
as a core member and then as an environmental intern. >> is that right? >> yes, sir. >> i used to work there. >> cool. >> i wasn't a corps member but i was a recruiter for a while, so i saw in two years about 400 people come through. >> i recruited through the environmental center and went directly to the coastal commission so it definitely was an influence on me joining the coast guard. >> in the interest of full disclosure i was on the board of directors for the corps and they still do a lot of work in the district. >> it was instrumental in getting me from a very rough place to even being able to enlift in the coast guard. thank you both. >> okay no other questions from the committee, we can go on to our next applicant and that's ivania bartcuss. welcome. >> good afternoon, supervisors. my name is ivania
4:02 am
vargus, i am currently the first transgender woman's president at city college of san francisco. we are the biggest community college on the west coast with that percentage of veterans. i work closely with the city college of san francisco's dean of students, president paris, chancellor tyler and other administrators on behalf of our veteran community. my role is to ensure that all veterans are delivered with the continuously update and resource -- ensure that a voice for veterans is delivered and that we continuously update the resources available to current and future set tran students on campus and in the community. i am currently also a student at city college, double maipk erring in administration of justice and social sciences, i will be transferring in the
4:03 am
fall to the university of san francisco to pursue my juris doctorate. i am a united states disabled veteran from the navy i served from 1991 to 19 95 i was in desert storm, i am also a combat service medal recipient. i think that's it. >> thank you. what would you like to be able to apeeve, what do you think your big contributions could be? >> i think big areas for me is to be sure we do more to help women, also lgbt, minorities and especially men of color. i am finding that a lot of veterans at school are homeless. we have the best bah in the country, which is allowance. >> bah >> it's allowance, an assistance that's given monthly
4:04 am
to our veterans for cost of living. a lot of them come here, they don't have jobs, they come here because it's soon to be the best nft country in the fall. they get here and they can't afford to rent a place to live. i have 4 current veterans who are homeless, i send them to other resources. these are men of color so i am finding that a lot of issues from the vietnam era are still being carried over into our current veterans. >> thank you. i have other questions but i will let supervisor cohen. >> thank you, i just have a few. i'm sorry, you said you were a student at city college? >> yes, ma'am. >> you are transferring at usf to go to law school? >> yes, ma'am. >> your service was in the navy? >> yes, ma'am. >> have you ever attended a commission meeting? >> i have not. >> okay, and maybe you can talk to me about some of the
4:05 am
issues that you'd like to work on, on behalf of veterans, specifically maybe something around housing, transportation or health care. >> i am, i know that the city does offer to its disabled veterans the free transportation. i have that. i feel that as far as the housing, we need to do more to look at to see, we're getting more of an influx of veterans and i know every year we grow by 225 each semester so that number is going to increase in the fall because there will be no more out of state tuition for veterans which means we have the best bah so we're going to triple those numbers. housing wise i don't feel the city is doing enough to help the current veterans. we're still trying to get the homeless veterans from the vietnam era into housing so we can't really help the veterans coming out, and we have 1.2
4:06 am
million coming out. >> thank you, i have no further questions. >> thank you. you mentioned having a disability but i see that disability seat no. 7, is that correct? so i don't have that on your application that you are actually in line for that and i'm not sure if it's a question for the clerk if we were to consider miss vargas for that seat, we can still make that determination? >> yes, if you determine she is qualifid for the seat. >> i guess that's a question for you since you hadn't put on your list as potentially to fill a seat for someone with a disability if you would be okay with that. >> uh-huh, yes, sir. >> okay. >> how did you hear about this commission or you desire -- talk to me a little bit about your desire to serve. if you've never been to a commission meeting, you know. >> a friend of mine, fellow student, because i am such a leader in the veteran community
4:07 am
at school and i'm very passionate about making sure that on campus we are represented, and being the first transgender woman i made it a point to be -- made it a point -- being president to be sure that we increase the resources that we have and i feel that in the community that is something we also need to do. we need to strive to always do better than we did previously. >> thank you. thank you. >> thank you very much for your presentation. >> thank you. >> okay, let's go on to the next applicant, that's kevin miller. >> good afternoon, thank you for having me. >> good afternoon. >> so i'm a service connected disabled vet of the iraq war.
4:08 am
i currently work at swords to plow shares. many of you probably know my organization already because this is our 40th year. about two years ago i came to swords to plow shares like many clients that come through our doors, broken, i needed help. i had been unemployed off and on for nearly two years so i know what those struggles are like. swords to plow shares brought me on as americorps vista working throughout california and gave me the ability to right my ship and my life. i was able to go seek services at the vr, get my physical ship in order and work on our physical initiative. during that time i was recognized for my service by
4:09 am
americcorps vista. during that time i lived in the city of san francisco with an income of less than $13,000 for the year and that was quite the struggle, so i very much know how low income veterans here in the city are very much affected by housing rates and other cost of living. during that time i helped organize and form a convening for corporations, nonprofits, throughout the state, helped do research and administer employment grants throughout the state of california and now texas, work with dozens of partners helping bring down veterans unemployment by a couple percentage points the last number of years and my main focus this year is helping mayor ed lee and the city of san francisco achieve the goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of the year. after my position they brought
4:10 am
me on to work on veteran policy, they created a full-time position based on my accomplishment at americorps vista. in that time we have also increased services by nearly 50 percent, brought on two new housing sites that increase permanent support of housing for residents here in san francisco by 33 percent. we are well on our way to accomplishing our goal in meeting (inaudible) working at swords i truly understand these issues and advocate for the most vulnerable. with that in mind there is a number of things upon reflection i would like to work on at the xlit that committee that i don't believe have been addressed.
4:11 am
to get to that number zero that hasn't been talked about is our work with the transgender population here in san francisco. one out of 3 who are transgender have served in the military. they have their unique set of needs and working with that population is usually extremely difficult so to actually meet our goals we have to come up with new strategies to reach out to that population. with that, we also need to support women's housing in the area, it's another big need for a rapidly growing demographic and actually the fastest growing demographic of all veterans. with that in mind also we need to focus on the aging veteran population here in san francisco, especially the low income and disadvantaged. with that, even at permanent supportive housing facilities, federal funding only funds care from 9:00 to 5:00. we have on site case management for 24 hours a day so on the part of the development side i have to come up with avenues and strategies on ways to fund
4:12 am
raise and supplement this so we can take care of all our veterans, both physically and mental health disabilities. thank you. >> thank you very much for your presentation. colleagues any comments or questions? i think you were very thorough in your presentation so i don't have any questions. i do appreciate your being willing to serve and your work with swords to plow shares as well. >> i'd like to thank all your staff for accommodating me, i was in surgery less than two weeks ago and i was at the hospital most of the time when we were trying to schedule our conversations. >> thank you. >> we have one more applicant and that is miss latonya dixon
4:13 am
>> good afternoon, chairman john avalos and supervisor katy tang and supervisor malia cohen. i wish to thank the supervisors and this board for this tupbtd to express my interest and passion to become one of the commissioners on the san francisco veterans commission. as a disabled woman veteran, the first african american commander of the american legion, i have been very active in the san francisco bay area community. i feel i would be, i would bring much diversity to the commission. i definitely would be on time and be there so we can make quorum.
4:14 am
also i know i have worked with most of the commissioners and would be happy to continue to work with them and support them to also bring in fresh ideas and at the moment i am working with commissioner john caldera on the port of chicago. in addition i have followed the proceedings of the commission for a number of years, attended numerous meetings and have spoken in public comment to introduce topics and events that may be of interest to the commission such as take back the night, which is an event put on for women and a couple of times there were men there that have been raped or abused and this is to help those that come to take back their power. also (inaudible) sunday which was created 3 years ago for veterans who are african american veterans that either have been i don't want to say
4:15 am
hidden, but have not been acknowledged or honored. and our first event was with one of the original tuskeegee airmen who was honored there. also with the lion's club we also have a project for bikes for vets which we work with the san francisco police department and bayview hunters point and that's free for all veterans, that they get a bike so that they can commute around in san francisco. my interest and passions are to work with other commissioners on women veterans issues, to continue be to advocate for women veterans by being the voice for those who feel they are voiceless, encourage empowerment for those who have suffered through military sexual trauma and/or ptsd these are very close to my heart because i, too, have suffered from that. i wish to
4:16 am
create with other commissioners events that are empowering, are educational and healing for women veterans and there is still 4 out of 5 women who have been raped or have gone through sexual harassment and 3 out of 5 of men who have gone through the same horrific thing. my plan is to create a place for veterans to go that is holistic and empowering, a mini retreat. many veterans such as myself have healed through these alternative modalities. this place will have meditation, acupuncture, tai chi and i will be working with different organizations such as va hospital, ucsf, and the san francisco independent living resource center to bring this
4:17 am
into fruition. lastly, one of the reasons i wanted to become a resident of the city of san francisco is so i can submit my application for a vacant seat on the san francisco veterans affairs commission and i will be moving into an apartment april 1st. i have lived in san francisco before for several years and i moved because of a situation and i'm moving back. >> thank you. that was one of the questions i have was about your residency which i believe currently is in daly city. >> yes. >> so april 1st you are moving to san francisco. >> yes. >> it's very rare that we hear of people moving back to san francisco. >> i know san francisco most --. >> congratulations on that. i'm sure it's not -- i mean just crossing from daly city to san francisco can be a huge increase in housing payments, so congratulations on that.
4:18 am
where will you be living in the city? >> i'm looking, what is that, knob hill, i think it's 7011 -- i'm sorry, i can't remember the address. 711 something, i can't remember right now. >> it seems like you mentioned a lot of places. you referentiald a lot of places in san francisco where you have been working from bayview to other neighborhoods as well. and so how long is it you have been in daly city? >> i have been in daly city for 3 years, but most of what i do is in san francisco so i think the only thing that i do in daly city is go home and go to sleep. so most of what i do is in san francisco. so i should start, it will be to my benefit and my body to move back to san francisco. >> and peace of mind. >> yes. and i love san
4:19 am
francisco, too. >> thank you. colleagues, any questions, comments? >> yes. okay, so this is for reappointment, right? >> this is my first time. >> oh, your first time coming forward. what i'm looking to hear is maybe the commission is an advisory commission to the mayor's office and to the board of supervisors. i would like to hear about how you would go about advising the board of supervisors on matters important to the veterans' community. >> well first of all i would speak with my fellow commissioners if i am appointed and will go by doing that i would also make an appointment with the supervisors to speak with them because i think that is appropriate protocol. i believe after that, after that we will write up something so that we can move forward. for
4:20 am
instance, my main interest is with women veterans and their issues. >> thank you. thank you, i have no further questions, mr. chairman. >> okay, so this item we can open up for public comment. any member of the public who would like to come forward and comment on the application in support for applicants for the veterans affair commission, please come forward. if you want, if there's more than one, please line up along the wall here the wall by the doors and we'll take you in the order that you are in line. thank you. >> good afternoon, chairman avalos, supervisor cohen and supervisor tang, i rise to support all of the veterans that are currently on the commission and all of those commissioners currently sitting, in particular john caldera, steven nutsell and mr.
4:21 am
baldenaro in my personal experience since i have known mr. caldera a short period of time, i have nothing to say that is as negative as what i've already heard. i have found him to be insightful and a person who finds he is welcoming and not instigating the commissioners said in some of the words here, i don't think i would have progressed so far because i'm currently sitting on the commission, was appointed last year, if it had not been from john calder a and also steven. the two, as i watched them work on the commission, still work with a synergy that has moved us forward in directions i didn't anticipate before. i applaud both of them before. in addition steven is a great writer. both he and john
4:22 am
caldera created the resolution we hope to be before you shortly on port chicago 50. also miss dixon one thing i understand about supervisor cohen's comments on inclusiveness, i think it's former justice john paul stevens who would also look to joe marshal for his lived experience. he knew he was limited in what happens in the world and our commission cannot move forward without having a broad depth of people with various lived experiences. so in concluding, i support the former and incumbents coming back to you today. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker, please. >> thank you, i wish to speak in public comment for some of the other applicants. i made my own presentation, i will skip over that, but i wanted to
4:23 am
just say for seat no. 1 i support sam pandy who made a great presentation to our commission just a couple days ago with some dynamic new ideas for the commission to move forward on. i support his appointment. i support for seat no. 4 sitting commissioner caldera he and i have worked together in the past not always seen eye to eye but i can tell you one thing, he's always there, he's always on time and he's dependable and he has the interests of veterans at heart in everything he does. seat no. 7 i support miss latonya dixon she has been to many commission meetings presenting some of the events she has run on behalf of veterans and we have supported that and i think she would be a great addition to the commission. seat no. 8 i have made my own presentation and seat no. 11 i speak for the reappointment of
4:24 am
commissioner baldenaro, who has given long service on this commission, has a good voice and also, by the way, worked with me to offer the only resolution that we've ever submitted to the board of supervisors that resulted in a board of supervisors mirror resolution. this was on justice for the philipino veterans of world war ii and we got a mirror resolution from the board. we'd like to see more of those in the future. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker, please. >> thank you supervisor avalos, supervisor tang, supervisor cohen, my name is paul cox to briefly introduce myself, i'm a vietnam veteran, i spent 18 months in veet nonin the marine corps during the war. i am a past chairman of
4:25 am
the board of swords to plow shares, i am sitting on the board, having been turned out, something we are all familiar with, and i am chairman of the war commission which is in charge of the veteran's space across the hall. i have worked with all the incumbents that are before you today and would like to just say that i think that they all have served well and continue to serve well and put their heart and soul into it. specifically that would be john caldera, steve nutsell and mr. baldanado and i think they represent the best of the veterans in this city and i think they would really serve well. i have also worked with latonya dixon, she is the commander of my american legion post and she has done tremendous work in this city on behalf of veterans for many years and i look forward to her
4:26 am
moving back to san francisco. i wasn't planning on recommending anybody for seat 1. i don't envy you, actually,ing rather than reduce the -- you might increase it to 22. but i wasn't aware that kevin miller, who i have worked with in swords and he works in swords, i am on the board, was applying for this position. i have encouraged him to do that and i wasn't aware he had. kevin is very hard-working and very talented employee at swords to plow shares and knows a lot about what veterans need in this city. as for what i think the veterans commission should be doing in the next few years, i think homelessness is no. 1. the va, as we know, has messed up and the city has very little opportunity to do much about that, but the city has a great deal of influence over homelessness. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. >> supervisor tang, supervisor
4:27 am
cohen, supervisor avalos, thank you for the opportunity to speak in front of you. my name is eddie ramirez, i served 22 years in the air force, native to san francisco, recently retired from the va medical center as the administrative officer for mental health. i am currently the coowner of mama art cafe and i am founder of one vet, one voice, a nonprofit that focuses on health care, education, housing and employment for our veterans here in san francisco. for the last 5 years i've been doing the san francisco veterans town hall collaborative where i bring federal, state, local and community partners all together into a one stop shop. our next home will be the veterans building when it opens. the commission. i have served on the commission for 4 years. i was the president of this
4:28 am
commission and i am not running for another term the reason being that i feel that this commission needs a stronger voice in the city and county of san francisco. we need the support from the board of supervisors, from the mayor's office. san francisco can be the best city of services for veterans and our military families but we got a lot of work to do. i am here to say when you have people on a commission for many many many years, the commission gets stagnant. you need fresh blood. the four people, i didn't know i was going to speak for all four, but i am, brendan rogers, coast guard, lieutenant, comes up from the ranks. this used to be a military town. he
4:29 am
should be on the commission. latonya dixon, i know her personally, we go back a long ways together. she should be on the commission. mr. vargas. >> that was your time. >> i would highly recommend all four to be on the commission. >> i'm sorry, if he could just finish his list that would be helpful to me. >> vargas and (inaudible) i know all of them and they would all be excellent on the commission. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> thank you, supervisor, my name is trepbt tano, i am here to support brendan rogers for a seat on the committee. as a fellow veteran in all my circles of friends there's only two i can really talk to about being a veteran and my time in
4:30 am
the army and brendan is one of them. he's a really open guy, really friendly, easy to talk to. he's the kind of guy who, if you have a problem he's very focused on helping you solving it and he's a great problem solver, great leader and i want to avoid the cylon detector so i will wrap it up and really give my support for brendan thank you very much. >> thank you, next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, my name is dottie guard, i'm currently on the san francisco veteran's affairs commission and i work as a veteran's coordinator. the three incumbents, i recommend them but i would love to recommend kevin (inaudible) i can always depend on him to know the answer and to know how to help our veterans in this city. and i am